Tag Archives: News Corporation

Greenhalgh becomes Deputy Mayor

The Dear Leader of Hammersmith and Fulham Council, Stephen Greenhalgh, is to become Boris Johnson’s Deputy Mayor for Policing. Shepherd’s Bush blog has the story. As does the Evil Bastard Ailing Standards Der Sturmer Evening Standard

The question that Nowhere Towers wants to ask is how will Greenhalgh be able to ‘guide’ through the massive White City development if he is ensconced at City Hall? Will he wear two hats? Will he continue to be a councillor? Probably. The ousted Brian Coleman was also a Barnet councillor and cabinet member as well as Fire Authority Chairman.

Meanwhile, Shepherd’s Bush blog also tells us that Lynton Crosby won’t be going to Number 10 after all. He’s joining good old News Corp. The Australian writes,

Mr Crosby says. “I hate all this right-wing, left-wing stuff. The voters just want to know that you’re focusing on what’s best for them.” He can’t offer any magic solution to the Tory problems in the North and does not think that Mr Cameron should start ramping up the rhetoric on dog-whistle issues such as immigration, crime and tax. “People are not ideological, they just want a Government that delivers a better life for them,” he says. “Overwhelmingly Mr Cameron’s focusing on what he needs to focus on, which is the economy.”

What a load of rot. Everyone has an ideology, whether they want to admit to it or not. This is how Crosby managed to transcend the left-right political dichotomy:  he lied about it. Boris Johnson is a right-winger and no amount of airbrushing can change that. By the way, The Australian is a News Corp title.

UPDATE: 9/5/12 @ 1200

According to this BBC News report, Greenhalgh has not been “confirmed” in his new role. Here’s the kicker,

London Labour Assembly Member Val Shawcross responded saying that the appointment breached the Local Government Act 1989 which states that a person is disqualified from taking a local authority post if they already have one.

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Filed under London, London Mayoral election 2012

Murdoch: hoist by his own petard or playing a long game?

My work took me much longer to finish than I expected, hence the long gap between blogs. A lot has happened over the last couple of weeks. Events in the phone hacking scandal have moved very quickly: no sooner than we hear of one revelation, another comes along within hours to take its place. Needless to say, Murdoch’s minions have overstepped the mark and acted criminally. Phone taps normally require a court order. The News of the World thought that it was above the law. It wasn’t.  Now the rest of News International and its parent company, News Corporation are under suspicion. The Sun and The Times have both been accused of phone hacking and in the US, it was believed that one of the News Corp companies hacked into the phones of those killed in the Twin Towers attack of September 11, 2001.

The News of the World is no more. No doubt it will be replaced by something just as vile. In many respects The Sun and the News of the World are the same paper. They both print the same kind of gossip and sleazy scandal and both papers believe that they have the right to intrude into people’s private lives.

I had originally begun drafting a blog a couple of weeks ago. My angle on this was the city of Liverpool and how The Sun and NotW had been boycotted by Scousers. The people of Liverpool have known for a long time what News International is capable of doing.  In the aftermath of the Hillsborough tragedy in 1989, The Sun made up a story about Liverpool supporters urinating on the dead. Kelvin MacKenzie, then editor of the paper, refused to apologize and even went so far as to rub more salt into the wound by standing by the ‘story’. To this day, the sales of The Sun and The News of the World on Merseyside are the lowest anywhere in the country. No self-respecting Scouser, red or blue, would contemplate buying such a vile rag.

Many of us have known for some time that Murdoch media and the government enjoy a close relationship. When Cameron hired Andy Coulson as his press secretary, Coulson was already up to his neck in shit.  But what we have seen is that the relationship between the Tories and the Murdoch media is somewhat closer than a mere business arrangement; these people meet socially. Cameron, Rebekah Brooks and Coulson have  broken bread together. Indeed Cameron, Coulson and Brooks live rather close to each other.  They are even referred to as the “Chipping Norton Set”.

The Murdoch press may not be able to inject its views into the heads of its readers but it is an opinion former and its views are taken seriously by many people. British politicians work to please the Murdoch press and will do their utmost to avoid upsetting papers like the The Sun, a paper that can ruin lives and careers at the drop of a hat.

In 1992, The Sun claimed to have won the general election for John Major’s Tories. The day before the polls opened, the Scum ran a front page that said “If Kinnock wins today will the last person to leave in Britain turn off the lights”. Labour lost the election but in the years that followed the Tories were battling allegations of sleaze.

Before the 1997 General Election, Tony Blair met with executives from News International. He understood that he needed to get the Murdoch media on his side in order to win. But it was a poisoned chalice, the Blair and the Brown governments found themselves dancing to Murdoch’s tune.

Yesterday, Murdoch had full page apologies printed in his papers and those of his rivals.  He’s done it again today. I suspect that his lawyers have advised him to do this, so that he can come back in a year’s time with a renewed bid for BSkyB. All he’s doing is trying to remake his image and that of his papers. As far as out politicians are concerned, they talk a good talk but they’re scared of Murdoch. They’ve done just enough to give the impression that they’re reining him in. Ed Miliband has called for a ban on multi-media ownership by a single person or group. This would be welcome. But the press cannot regulate itself properly. The Press Complaints Commission is run by the newspaper industry and membership  is not compulsory. The PCC does not have the power to sanction errant newspapers nor can it impose fines. All it can do is get the paper in question to print an apology, which is, more often than not, a single paragraph buried inside the newspaper.

I’ll leave you with this mindless drivel from LMer and professional shit-stirrer, Brendan O’Neill who blames the NotW’s demise on a “dictatorship of do-gooders”.

When small groups of professional activists help to shut down a newspaper read by millions of everyday Brits, that is not “people power”. When celebrities and well-to-do commentators help to deprive 7.5 million people of their Sunday read – and what’s more, claim to be doing it in order to save those 7.5 million people from being morally corrupted – that is not a “democratic moment”. It is more like a dictatorship of do-gooders.

Lest we forget that O’Neill’s former magazine, LM was shut down because it lost a libel case against ITN whom LM had accused of misrepresenting the Bosnian Civil War.   A “dictatorship of do-gooders” had nothing to do with the NotW’s demise; its death was caused by slipshod journalistic standards and blatant lawbreaking. I, for one, am glad it’s gone. I think that I should point out that O’Neill also writes for the Australian, a title owned by guess who?

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Filed under Ideologies, Journalism, Media, News Corporation, Tory press, Yellow journalism

Plural media or supine media? The right’s media claims don’t stack up

Jeremy Rhyming-Slang: Murdoch can count on him to do the 'right' thing

There are many right-whingers in this country who constantly moan about ‘BBC bias’. It seems to me that none of them actually pay any attention the BBC’s news output, particularly with regards to corporation’s reportage of the recent student protests. Throughout its history, the BBC has been more biased against the left and the working class than it has the right: the General Strike of 1929, the Battle of Orgreave Colliery are a couple of examples of this tendency. Then, in the aftermath of the 9/11, old footage of celebrating Palestinians was grafted onto current footage to help reinforce the myth that all Muslims hate America (this ignores the fact that there are Christian Palestinians). These are examples of real bias yet the right say nothing – and for obvious reasons.

Make no mistake, the right’s claim that the BBC is ‘biased against them’ is a nothing more than a manifestation of control freakery. They won’t be content until all the news media of this country reflects their views. Guido Fawkes blog tells us that “breaking up the BBC” will actually create a “plural media”. The subtext to this demand is that right-wingers like Staines want Murdoch to increase his stake in BSkyB. Murdoch already owns The Sun, The Times, The Sunday Times, The News of the World, Times Educational Supplement, The Times Literary Supplement and publishers Harper Collins.  Staines says,

The BBC must therefore be an even worse threat to “media plurality”, particularly when one considers that it is protected from fair competition by a state subsidy via taxation. Somehow this doesn’t worry the Guardian, which is hardly surprising because BBC News often feels like the broadcast arm of that paper. When one considers that the BBC overwhelmingly recruits from its pages the Guardian-BBC axis is abundantly clear.

The fact that media jobs (note I said media jobs) are advertised in The Guardian is not an indication of media bias any more than teaching jobs advertised in the Murdoch-owned TES will necessarily attract an overwhelming number of right wing, Tory- voting teachers. It’s a facile assertion. What Staines fails to understand is that the numbers of media jobs advertised in The Times and The Telegraph are fewer than in The Guardian because their media sections are smaller. The Guardian has had a dedicated media section for a number of years. This has not been the case with the right wing press.

Douglas Carswell chimes in with this

Creating a framework that allows local TV to flourish – and without public funds – would give a real boost to localism.  A patchwork of local TV stations across the country would help folk keep tabs on their ever more autonomous council – and their directly-elected police commissioner and mayor.

Besides, it would, as Guido suggests, give us a more decentralised, more plural media.

These TV stations will more than likely be bought up by larger concerns. This is exactly what happened to many local newspapers in the 1980’s which were bought up by larger publishing companies. As for a “plural media” how exactly will this be achieved by creating ‘local television stations’? ITV franchises like Anglia, Thames and Granada once provided quality local news until deregulation forced them to consolidate. Localism, my eye.

When the Broadcasting Act (1990) was passed, the Major government claimed that it would lead to more ‘choice’. 19 years after the Act was passed, it has led to dilution, repetition, dumbing down and a greater choice of rubbish. Television companies, including the BBC,  have been involved in a race to the bottom since the Act was passed. Commercial radio has fared even worse with much of the music output, for instance, duplicated across channels.  Interestingly enough the Act also provided a convenient loophole to protect Murdoch’s Sky which was defined as a “non-UK service”.

What the Tories and their supporters actually want is a supine media that disseminates their ideology and only asks polticians what Americans call ‘softball questions’. They want a British equivalent of Fox News which, in spite of its name, contains very little news and a lot of right wing opinion. Fox News, as Chomsky and Herman observe, is little more than an “unofficial ministry of information”. No doubt this is what Jeremy Hunt and his supporters want to see. Not content with having most of the newspapers on their side, they want control of the rest of the media too.

The last thing this country needs is to have the likes of Richard Littlejohn or Nick Ferrari elevated to the same status as Glenn Beck or Sean Hannity in the States.

Don’t let Murdoch get his own way. Please sign the petition.

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Filed under allegations of bias, Media, News Corporation, Society & culture, television, Tory press